The Colorado 14er Project: Day 10
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After a relatively relaxing travel day accompanied by perhaps a bit too much bourbon and beer, we woke up early to tackle our most ambitious hiking day yet—four 14ers! It may have seemed like we were completely neglecting the biggest part of our 14er project—hiking 14ers—but rest assured that it was all part of our plan!
Our route for Day #10 is commonly referred to as “DeCaLiBron” and it ascend Mount Democrat, Mount Cameron, Mount Lincoln, and Mount Bross. The Kite Lake Trailhead is over 12k feet elevation, which means that the majority of our ascent for the day would come from ascending the first peak, Mount Democrat. After some steeper, looser terrain and a few false summits we found ourselves standing atop the first peak of the day.
Summit of Mount Democrat
Our second biggest climb of the day came on our ascent up Mount Cameron. The summit of our second peak of the day is rounded off and not terribly impressive. So, we didn’t linger too long and set our sights to Mount Lincoln, which would be a quick out-and-back.
Summit of Mount Cameron
Mount Lincoln had plenty of hikers lounging on its summit. We even got to participate in a random singing of “Happy Birthday” for one of those hikers. Again, we couldn’t linger too long; clouds were starting to build and we still had one more peak to bag.
Summit of Mount Lincoln
On our way to the last summit of the day, Mount Bross, the clouds kept building. Eventually, snow and graupel began to fall from the sky. Still, we we weren’t too alarmed hanging out on the summit. It seemed like the only thing coming out of this storm was a little precipitation.
Summit of Mount Bross
As we hung out on the summit taking photos a hiker popped up from the direction of our descent path. The first words out of her mouth were, “My hair feels funny.” We immediately looked at each other and began to notice the same feeling. The seemingly harmless snow storm had turned into an electrical storm, which can be incredibly frightening.
Being exposed on a mountain summit at 14k feet elevation is probably one of the last places you want to be in an electrical storm, yet there we were. With all of our camera and hiking gear still spread out across the summit Mandy took of running downhill while I packed up everything and planned to catch up.
As we descended we could feel the electricity in the air, hear the crackling, and see the obvious sign of our hair standing up on end. Unfortunately, the first half mile of our descent stayed super exposed on a ridge line before we finally dropped down into safer terrain.
Eventually, we found ourselves out of harm’s way and could slow things down a bit. The rest of the hike down gave us a chance to get our heart rates down and appreciate that we got out of our little scare unscathed. We made it through the nasty weather to finish hiking our 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th 14ers of our project!
Once back at Little Bear and Blanca we decided to head out for a brewery visit to calm our nerves a little. First, was our 9th scenic drive—Hoosier Pass. At the end of the drive we found ourselves in the small town of Fairplay, home of our 10th featured brewery—South Park Brewery.
The bartender took a lot of joy in telling us about the beers and the brewery. He also pointed us in the direction of the Snitching Lady Distillery, which was the 12th distillery of our project.
After a sampling of their product line, a private tour of the distillation area, and listening to the co-owners talk about how the distillery got started, it was time for us to start thinking about a place to sleep for the night. We made our way back to Frisco, parked on a random street in town, and decided to sneak in one more brewery before bed—Highside Brewing (11th brewery of our project).
We didn’t linger around here too long. We were exhausted and ready for bed. So, after a quick dinner and a few nightcaps we made our way back to Little Bear and hung our hats on Day #10.
So, here’s to 4 more days exploring Colorful Colorado…
14er 7/14: Mount Democrat 14er 8/14: Mount Cameron 14er 9/14: Mount Lincoln 14er 10/14: Mount Bross Distillery 12/14: Snitching Lady Distillery Brewery 11/14: South Park Brewery Brewery 12/14: Highside Brewing Scenic Drive 9/14: Hoosier Pass